VisitTulsa funding campaign secures $3.6 million in support9.19.2012
VisitTulsa, the convention and visitors division of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, celebrated the success of the recent funding campaign with a formal announcement and reception today where more than 100 individuals representing the local hospitality industry, campaign investors and regional leadership gathered in support of the organization.
“Because of the support of those of you in the audience this evening, VisitTulsa secured a total of $3,654,872 in funding,” Steve Bradshaw, chair of the VisitTulsa campaign and senior executive vice president of Bank of Oklahoma said. “With 41 investors and a 30-person campaign cabinet, in addition to a number of regional leaders and peers who were well-involved in this process, it’s quite obvious the Tulsa metro is ready to see an optimized return on $1.15 billion in recent quality of life investments across the region by enhancing VisitTulsa to a level competitive with our peer markets.”
The lead investor list includes 11 entities: Bank of Oklahoma; Cherokee Nation Entertainment, LLC; George Kaiser Family Foundation; ONEOK, Inc.; Osage Casinos; River Spirit Casino; Saint Francis Health System; SMG Management; T.D. Williamson, Inc.; Tulsa Metro Chamber; and Tulsa World.
The campaign was launched following a third-party study by Randall Travel Marketing that identified the vast potential the Tulsa metro region held as a visitor’s destination.
“We learned from Randall Travel Marketing that we were missing a great opportunity for economic impact and increased positive quality of life effects because VisitTulsa lacked the budget to properly market the region to travelers,” Ray Hoyt, senior vice president of VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission said. “We have the assets –premier concert venues, world-class museums, ballet, symphony, culture, heritage, shopping and so much more- but we were unable to properly promote these assets and attract visitors because we lacked competitive funding when compared to peer destinations, such as Oklahoma City or Little Rock.”
The hospitality industry provides an annual $160 million economic impact and supports nearly 28,000 jobs. With increased funding and the ability to better market the region as a destination, the annual economic impact will increase to $210 million, with a jump in annual tax revenue from $7.2 million to $11.5 million.
With the increased funding VisitTulsa plans to enhance the Tulsa region’s economy through tourism with a focus in five strategic areas: conventions, groups and associations; tourism and leisure travel; sports and athletics; equestrian and agriculture; marketing and branding. And, VisitTulsa will: increase regional occupancy by 3 percent annually; secure 340,000 total room nights by 2015; and realize a regional economic impact of $630 million by 2015.
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